During this last week, Midshipman Knocker & I have been with a party of ratings & other officers to Palestine. The Chaplain organized the trip and made quite a good job of it, considering that we had such a short time at our disposal.
The journey from Alexandria to Jerusalem was much the same as any other long train journey – 30 hours of it, including a 5 hour wait at Benha, a junction a short distance outside Cairo. Our next train, when it condescended to move, took us by easy stages to Lydda. We travelled across the desert by night, crossing the Suez canal at Ismalia just after dark. When we crossed into Palestine it was light again and the green & fertile fields of the “Promised Land” were a very pleasant change from Egypt’s wastes. The people seemed different too. At Gaza, out first stop in Palestine, we were able to get jaffa oranges at 3 per acka – not bad going. Lydda was just another one-horse, or probably, one donkey town and after a not so short wait we climbed into carriages after the style of cattle trucks and began the slow uphill journey to our goal. There was a certain amount of rain about which was not surprising as we arrived during the period of the “Latter Rains” [Spring rain].
Our hostel, attached to St George’s Cathedral, proved clean & pleasant and all was organized so we had nothing to worry about there. The rest of Sunday we spent settling down & fixing details.